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DNA Barcoding of Olive Lace Bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) Re-Veals Previously Unknown Species Diversity in South Africa
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1  Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa.
Academic Editor: Mihailo Jelić


Olive lace bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) are small phytophagous insects known to cause damage to wild and cultivated olive trees in Southern Africa. This study aimed at gaining insights into the species diversity of olive lace bugs in South Africa, which are locally referred to as “tingids” and was previously thought to comprise a single species. Adult olive lace bugs were haphazardly collected from wild and cultivated olive trees in the Western Cape province, and morphologically identified as Cysteochila lineata, Neoplerochila sp., N. paliatseasi and P. australis. DNA barcodes were generated for each species and used for phylogenetic clustering analyses and estimates of intraspecific genetic divergence (p-distances), along with all DNA barcodes available for Tingidae. Phylogenetic clustering and p-distances supported the consistency of the morphological identification of C. lineata, Neoplerochila sp., N. paliatseasi and P. australis, and the utility of DNA barcoding methods for species identification in Tingidae. Additionally, one complete mitochondrial genome for each of the species found in South Africa was sequenced and used for comparative mitogenomics and phylogenetic reconstruction within the family Tingidae. The four olive lace bugs formed one phylogenetic cluster in Tingini, and the genus Neoplerochila was monophyletic. However, the genus Cysteochila was not monophyletic, as C. lineata was recovered as a sister species to P. australis, but Cysteochila chiniana was placed in a different cluster with Trachypeplus jacobsoni and Tingis cardui. These results highlight the evolutionary significance of olive tree utilization by olive lace bugs and may inform future taxonomic revisions in Cysteochila.

Keywords: Olea europaea; mitogenomics; phylogenetics